Charmed, I’m sure: An interview with Rob Christian

Alcohol, cigarettes, energy drinks, women: Rob Christian, a 21-year-old saxophone-toting, flute-playing jazz prodigy, loves it all.

“Oh, and music too!” he clarifies as he downs a shot-sized boost of caffeine and sugar.

As a frequenter of Toronto’s Annual Beaches Jazz Festival for the last couple years, I had made a point to catch the slender, effortlessly skilled multi-instrumentalist blaze through set after set, admiring his ease in front of a crowd and, I’ll admit it, falling somewhat prey to his palpable charm. It was always obvious that Christian’s undeniable skill was not the only thing that drew audiences to his little corner of Queen Street East every summer. My three-hour jaunt with the Markham-born musician ended up being as much a serious, journalistic assignment as it was the realization of a back-burnered fixation with an artist who is just as entertaining trading snaps with the festival crowd as he is pumping out innovatively remixed standards and pop-synthed original pieces.

Christian’s path to prominence in Toronto’s music scene began early: he got involved with the Beaches Jazz Festival at the age of 14, stunning old pros with his fresh approach and self-assuredness. Gathering fans and gaining prowess, Rob flexed musical muscle on the piano and with vocals and toyed with the temptation of expanding his repertoire beyond jazz and blues. He released mixtapes and samplers, assisted by his brother Scott Christian, a U of T graduate, and Juno-award-winning producer Eddie Bullen. Rob applied to U of T’s jazz music program and was awarded the Moe Koffman Memorial Scholarship, a prestigous award granted to one first-year student in honour of the Canadian jazz legend. The program however, often touted as the best in the country, turned out to be not-so-great for the teen. Halfway through his third year, he dropped out.
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“The place I am at with music didn’t jive with U of T. U of T is a straight-ahead jazz program and my interests are in a different place.” While Christian recognized that his time at U of T made him technically proficient, and he detected a “night and day difference” between the beginning and end of his first year in school, he could not justify the time and effort spent in class while the other aspects of his career were taking off at such an extraordinary pace. “I would have all of these amazing experiences and was making all of these great connections, and then I’d be back in class. It just didn’t feel right.”

Christian explains that he is comfortable making unorthodox decisions because of his life experiences thus far. “No matter what you think you like or what your tastes are, make sure you maintain an open mind. You can learn from everyone, no matter their skill level. At U of T, I was a part of a closed-minded mentality because it was such a specific program, but you should be open to learning everything, it’ll only help you.”

And there aren’t a lot of learning opportunities that Christian hasn’t considered. He consciously surrounds himself with diverse influences — from aspiring local rappers, one of whom guest spots on “Cat Meow,” an original tune off of his latest release called Mixtape; to Eddie Bullen’s son Quincy, a close friend and bandmate who has followed in his father’s jazz and blues footsteps; to Haley Small, an R&B songstress who boasts Christian’s seal of approval. Deliberate about diversifying his influences and striving for a sound that is both relatable and original, he sidestepped the standardization that often accompanies formal training in the arts. “I don’t even want people to be able to hear the Toronto in my music, much less the U of T.”

Taking swigs of his pint, Christian explains that success means happiness, which translates to the ability to support and lift up those around you. The idea that so-called musical integrity goes hand-in-hand with obscurity and little to no financial return, the mantra of many in this increasingly Bieberified age, is not a mentality to which Christian subscribes. “Pride gets you hurt,” he says simply, as if this single belief governs his entire life. He peppers conversation with detailed references to jazz and hip-hop legends, then laughs excitedly when he’s told he has a Justin Bieber vibe: “Really? Well, he is the man….”

At once self-aware and self-doubting, Christian is the kind of 21-year-old that spends Bonnaroo hopped up on drugs to the point of near unconsciousness and plays a gig at Lee’s Palace on his birthday, throwing up all those good-times minutes before taking the stage. He’s also the kind to take a few moments to explain how much he loves his mom (who doubles as his manager) and rave like a proud parent about a particular 11-year-old he tutors in saxophone. He challenges his students with pieces far beyond their skill level, but doesn’t tell them that: “It removes that mental block, that obstacle in your mind that’s really just an illusion. These kids are doing the same stuff I’m doing. And they’re doing it well.”

I reach for my wallet as we prepare to leave, and he waves me away without a second thought. “You get the next one,” he says, and I get the unshakable feeling that I am part of something big.

VarCity

M.I.A.

Infamous poptress and queen of controversy, M.I.A. plays Sound Academy on September 22. Known for her activism and “guerilla art” fashion fetish, M.I.A. Is known for high-energy shows with an emphasis on style.

Sound Academy, $33.50. September 22. All ages.

Rogue Wave

San Francisco alternative rock band Rogue Wave play the famed Opera House on September 24. Upbeat and fresh, with a dance vibe and infectious lyrics, this show with Texas band Midlake is sure to draw a stylish, indie-loving crowd.

The Opera House, $19.50. September 24. 19+

Best Coast

The pop trio from sunny LA bring their particular brand of washed-out, psychedelic, 60’s-inspired, drug-hazed, low-fi rock-pop to Toronto.

Lee’s Palace, $13.00. September 25. 19+

Klaxons

Want to meet the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and have fun at the same time? Check out the electro-post-dance-punk sound of Klaxon, whose spacey sounds generate fantastical imagery in both their recorded work and their live show.

Mod Club, $20.00. September 27. 19+

The xx
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The three-person group creates a slew of intricate, perfect-break-up-songs with one pulsing bass guitar and a single sound effect. Low-key and sad, the moody trio references bands such as Joy Division and The Cure, but still manages to sound fresh.

Massey Hall, $54.39. September 29. All ages.

Deerhoof

Catch Deerhoof, the long-time indie rockers whose musical artistry has influenced the likes of the Flaming Lips and Sufjan Stevens.

Lee’s Palace, $19.50. October 3.

Ignite for your rights

“This poem is your talisman. Wear it like a cloak of stars.

I will stitch you a galaxy for every black hole.”

- Sheniz Janmohamed, “Noble Soul”

It’s easy to be skeptical about the ability of creative expression to make any real impact on the political sphere, and it often seems impossible to imagine that art could combat the wealth, power, and violence that dominate world politics. Sheniz Janmohamed, a writer and spoken-word artist, is undaunted, and through her organization Ignite Poets, she is striving to promote literary expression as a means of instigating social change.

Ignite Poets is an initiative that provides young poets with the opportunity to promote peace and social awareness through their work. Janmohamed started the project as an undergraduate at the University of Toronto, when she was first emerging as a spoken-word artist. According to Janmohamed, Ignite’s original purpose was to provide young artists with an alternative to open-mic style shows, which dominate the spoken-word scene and are usually comprised of a series of individual performances.

“It just seemed like there weren’t enough opportunities for new spoken word artists to work together collaboratively on a project,” she says. “I liked the idea of integrating our pieces into one show…I started [Ignite] to see…if there was a way we could use our talents together to create a new genre within spoken word.”

In order to foster collaboration between young poets, Ignite’s first show featured seamless transitions from one poet to the next, weaving individual presentations into a single, cohesive performance.

“I looked at [the performers’] poems very carefully and I found ways of connecting each piece,” Janmohamed continues. “There were no introductions between each piece, it just went from one…to the next.”

Ignite took on another dimension last year, when Janmohamed began planning to launch a Kenyan branch of the initiative with a show featuring Kenyan artists (Janmohamed herself is of Kenyan ancestry). Because she primarily worked on the show from Toronto and was not directly involved in the details of its production, Janmohamed focused less on the show’s structure and more on its potential to serve as a vehicle for political and social change.

The local poets who performed at Ignite’s show in Kenya addressed some of the many issues that Kenya has faced since 2008, when a hotly contested presidential election sparked horrific bouts of violence throughout the country. They also donated the proceeds from the performance to a girls’ school in the slums of Nairobi. Janmohamed was struck by the performers’ eagerness to use their art as a platform for the peaceable resolution of political and social strife in Kenya.

“The desire for transparency and accountability and awareness that they have…is really an example of what we should be like here,” she says. “I think everyone can learn a lesson from Kenyan poets…because they really are the voice of that nation.”

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Janmohamed believes that poetry’s pathos makes it an invaluable medium for addressing social and political issues, particularly in Kenya: “Newspaper, or radio [are] effective in a way, but [don’t] necessarily tug on the heartstrings of people,” she says. “Poetry can do that…it can challenge people’s ideas and challenge the status quo. I think that’s why Kenyans, specifically after…the election violence, found that the most effective way to channel their emotions and frustrations was through this medium.”

Janmohamed experienced the power of poetic expression herself when she was working on Bleeding Light, a compilation of poems that is set to be released at the end of the month. Bleeding Light is a collection of ghazals, an intricate poetic form that dates back to seventh-century Persia. Janmohamed wrote the compilation as part of her graduate studies at the University of Guelph. After researching the ghazal extensively, she drew on its ancient form and style to explore her own thoughts, experiences and struggles.

Bleeding Light addresses the anguish of love, the devastation of war, and the challenges that Janmohamed has faced as a person of Eastern descent living in the Western world. And yet, despite such intense subject matter, the sequence of ghazals in Bleeding Light traces a woman’s journey from darkness into the light of dawn. According to Janmohamed, this reflects the personal catharsis that she experienced through the composition of her poems. “I was dealing with specific issues that were surfacing through poetry and it was the only way for me to have [a] sense of release. I was also…in Kenya for a chunk of the time I was writing them, so some of that imagery is because of the fact that I was actually on a journey.”

Now that she has returned from that journey and finished writing Bleeding Light, Janmohamed has turned her sights back to Kenya, with plans to establish a permanent branch of Ignite Poets there. “I’d like to see if I can partner with some sort of organization…[to] create something sustainable that can be run by Kenyans, but stay true to what Ignite is about,” she says. “I want to promote literacy and the importance of literary expression as a more productive way of channeling your frustrations.”

‘The Third’ is rich with humour

Theatre lights dim, the stage is black and a single spotlight shines on a misshapen Richard III. The spotlight goes out and a rush of lights and powerful, drum-heavy music fill the stage — then the Battle of Tewkesbury ensues. Jeremy Hutton’s vision of a play that reflects the malicious inner workings of Richard III’s twisted mind begins with the killing of Henry VI, and though this battle is not a part of Shakespeare’s original Richard III but rather from the end scene of Henry VI Part III, Hutton’s choice to begin the tale of a murderous tyrant with his first murder seems quite fitting. This is not the only choice on Hutton’s part that makes this theatre going experience unique — the extensive use of lighting and sound shape and develop the play to the extent that they become as prominent as the characters they highlight.

Throughout the play Hutton uses sound to accentuate mood; lighting creates a series of montage-like scenes, and Hutton even ventures to play with recorded sound and acting doubles to allow his actors to travel from one spot to another in impossible time. Though the strong presence of these effects can at times become overwhelming or even cheesy — Queen Elizabeth in spotlight, silently wailing while heavy drums play over the speakers comes off as overdramatic and somewhat contrived — for the most part these elements feed the dramatic and humorous qualities of the play. Sound, and its contrasting silence, is particularly used to its full effect in Richard’s speeches, highlighting the scheming qualities of his soliloquies and adding a mischievous humour in his asides to the audience. Richard’s cunning deceptiveness is even made humorous to the extent that it could be likened to the comedic duplicity of Ferris Bueller.

The music further produces a Celtic, ritualistic undertone, pervasive throughout the play, particularly in Queen Margaret’s scenes. Hutton’s set and costume design is simple — a dead forest lies in the background throughout the entire three hour play and the costumes are abstract Elizabethan, leaving the play’s specific time and place ambiguous.
![alt text][1It is often the case that if a reviewer spends a significant portion of time highlighting sound and lighting it is because compliments cannot be found elsewhere in the production. This was far from the case in Richard III, so I feel I should pause from blathering on about the brilliant use of lighting and sound and give the cast their due. Richard’s scheming soliloquies work well because Andre Sills instills the part with morbid villainy and delivers his ominous lines with quick wit and bite. The actor’s dominating presence on stage perfectly suits that of a tyrannous ruler. I am, however, unsure of whether the actor slips in his speech on more than one occasion due to nerves or because the character is meant to be played with a speech impediment. If it is the latter, he should have played this aspect more boldly.

Annemieke Wade’s Queen Margaret and Neil Silcox’s Duke of Buckingham also give remarkable performances that deserve mention, and Jim Armstrong and Andrew Knowlton play excellent bumbling henchmen to Richard. The cast neither falters nor stumbles in their performance, including the two younger performers Nathan Wilson and Ian Hanson, playing Edward IV’s children.

The overall effect of Hutton’s Richard III is a powerful one, and the experience is enjoyable. Each element of the play works to produce a morose vision of the world as seen through the eyes of a disturbed man. A quite refreshing aspect of this production is that its architects managed to incorporate original modern techniques to the popular Shakespearean tragedy without falling back on the old switching leotards to jeans and castles to subways trick.

Richard III runs until October 2nd at Hart House Theatre.

Football team fields win

While the league record of the University of Toronto Varsity Blues football team is indisputably abysmal, they managed to garner their fourth win in three years against the York Lions over the weekend.

The Blues took on the Lions in the 41st annual Red and Blue Bowl at Varsity Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Despite hoards of fans who attended to cheer on the visitors, the Blues squeaked past the competition 24–19 .

It was at the 39th Red and Blue Bowl in 2008, that Blues crushed the Lions 58–7, and took their first Argos Cup since 1995. Last season, although by a considerably smaller margin, the Blues did it again, and walked away 45–27.

After the first quarter started off as a back-and-forth battle for field position, the game heated up quickly minutes into the second frame.

The Blues took control and were on the scoreboard almost immediately. Blues quarterback Andrew Gillis fought off Lions defenders and drove the ball into the end zone for the first touchdown of the game.
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It seemed as if York might be on the road to recovery after kicker Ramsey Aburaneh scored 33 yard field goal, but it was the 49-yard run and subsequent touchdown from Blues rookie running back, who according to Gillis is “a hell of an athlete,” Aaron Milton, that really set the tone for the second half.

Milton said that the Blues had been “working on that play all week.”

The third quarter was a juggling contest, complete with multiple fumbles and back-to-back turnovers coming so quickly it was nearly impossible to keep count. But with just two minutes to go in the frame, Gillis got the Blues on the board again, and ran in another touchdown that brought the score to 21–3 going into the final quarter.

Unwilling to go home without a touchdown to their name, the Lions made a comeback as the clock ticked away in the fourth. Five minutes in, Lions running back Dallas Smith entered the end zone off a two yard run.

Although they conceded both a safety and a rouge to the Blues, and choked in the face of the perfectly lined up touchdown, it was the Lions who dominated the final minutes of play.

Lions quarterback Nick Coutu connected with slotback Alex Bugdahn on a 41-yard pass under two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

Much to the relief of the coaches who had to watch their team give away 16 points in 15 minutes, the Lions last ditch attempt fell short, and the game wrapped up with a final score of 24–19.

The Lions gave up four interceptions, and two of those four were made by Waterloo transfer and player of the game, Hugo Lopez. To earn his title, Lopez made an astounding eight solo tackles.

Blues passing was 16 for 25, and totaled a meager 151 yards compared to the Lions 320.

But for the Blues, who accumulated 180 running yards, it wasn’t about the passing.

“We thought we could run the ball on [the Lions], and it worked out well for us,” said Milton. “We want to be able to run the ball this year because we’ve struggled in the past. It’s a big effort for us to get the running game going and we’ve got a great quarterback in Gillis who can also run the ball.”

Gillis added, “The last few weeks we haven’t really been running the ball that well so we wanted to establish a running game early.”

Both Milton and Gillis acknowledged that the Lions have some solid players on their roster, and are not to be underestimated.

“I knew that they were going to come out pretty heavy,” said Gillis. “But we came out lucky today and executed better than they did.”

A house divided

Last year’s parliamentary session was among the least productive in Canadian political history. Parliament sat fewer days and passed fewer laws than ever before. A series of pseudo-scandals culminating in the Guergis-Jaffer affair monopolized the parliamentary calendar and further diminished the already low esteem in which Canadians hold their representatives. The government introduced several important bills, including one reforming the refugee claims system and another creating a new complaints review system for the RCMP, but did so too early in the parliamentary session for them to be debated. The bills that parliament did pass were passed without much debate and not enough information for the scrutiny we expect of parliament.

Unless there is an election this fall, which seems increasingly improbable, this year will not likely be any more productive. Indeed, if the opposition takes a more combative tack, something which Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff finally seems prepared to do, this year may be even less productive as every folly and gaffe on the part of the government is transformed into the day’s political ammunition. Normally, having an active opposition would be mark of a healthy parliament, but the Canadian political situation is so dysfunctional that a stronger opposition might actually make it worse.

This unusual situation is not, as some have snidely suggested, the result of there being no real problems for parliament to deal with. True, Canada is faring far better economically than Britain or the United States, but this is not to say that there are no major issues, economic or otherwise, that we need parliament to address. Parliament will not and cannot solve every problem in Canada, but there are some on which only it can act. Unfortunately, these tend to be controversial and intractable questions. That is not reason enough for parliament, especially when no party holds a majority of the seats in the House of Commons, to abdicate this high responsibility.
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Indeed, the onus of ensuring that parliament can effectively address the issues facing Canada is not solely on the government, as some commentators seem to believe, but also on the opposition. There have been a few moments in the past year when the opposition took seriously its shared responsibility to govern in times of minority parliament to strike deals with the government. This it did when it reached an agreement with the government on proposed reforms to the refugee claims system, which were introduced in a bill shortly before the House rose in May.

The opposition, especially the Liberals, fear cooperating too often with the government because they believe that it might make them appear weak and make it harder for voters to distinguish them from the Conservatives come election time. This fear is not unjustified, but it should be balanced with the competing responsibility of the opposition to Canadians in a minority parliament to ensure that the business of parliament gets done. This does not mean that they should acquiesce to every request made of them by the government, but that they should use their position to ensure that the bills adopted are as good as they can be.

Unfortunately, Canadians are not used to this kind of wheeling and dealing between parties because we have relatively little experience with minority governments and even less with coalitions. Minority parliaments require a much greater political maturity on the part of both government and opposition than do majority parliaments. There is currently an unprecedented maturity deficit in parliament combined with one of the most dysfunctional minority governments in Canadian history, in terms of its willingness to cooperate with the opposition.

And all of this despite the fact that parliament will face some pressing questions this fall including Canada’s ballooning budget deficit, proposed changes to the oversight of the RCMP, and the prime minister’s plans for asserting Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic. First will be the long gun registry, which a private member’s bill supported by the government proposes to abolish. Though it seems that it will be narrowly defeated, further challenges on gun control in Canada are sure to come. Yet the government seems unprepared for a real debate on the issue and the opposition chronically incapable of responding and defining its own gun control agenda. Presently, New Democratic leader Jack Layton claims to have secured enough votes of rural NDP MPs to defeat the bill, but the vote will likely be very close.

To be sure, the opposition alone cannot transform parliament, but it is certainly capable of more than what it has been doing. The government is unlikely to improve its behaviour and cannot easily be forced to do so. Instead, it is up to the opposition to out-govern the government so that it can persuade Canadians that it can deliver on its agenda in the next election.

New note solution for absentee students

There is now another option for students unable to make it to class. Note Solution is a website that allows students to share notes and study guides online using a credit based system.

“When they first sign up [students] get 200 credits and these credits are when you download notes from the site,” said Kevin Wu, U of T 2010 alumnus and co-founder of Note Solution. “When you run out of credits you can upload your own notes and you can gain credits.”

Wu co-founded the company with Jack Tai — a former U of T classmate — after seeing a way to improve the undergraduate experience. “We were just thinking back to our first year at university and thinking if only we had some source for our class notes it would have really helped us with our first-year grades.”

Wu adds that the program is designed for first- and second-year students who may not be as familiar with the university. “They might not know a lot of people in their class.”

Gavin Nowlan, President of the Arts and Science Student Union, is skeptical as to whether students will use the site. “I know a lot of students are just very weary of sharing notes with people in their own classes let alone people around the university,” said Nowlan.

Wu shares Nowlan’s concern that U of T may not be the right environment to support Note Solution.

“I’ve heard from a number of students that U of T […] keep to themselves and people don’t really want to share information with other people because having that information gives them the leg up,” said Wu.

Professor of Sociology Robert Brym cautions that if students choose to use the site, it will not necessarily improve their classroom performance.

“Note-takers have to figure out which ideas are significant, translate important ideas into their own words, and record them. These activities embed ideas in memory,” said Brym in an email to The Varsity. “The more you rely on someone else’s notes, the less thoroughly you will learn the material.”

“My guess is that 10–20 per cent of students in more introductory courses don’t care. […] They just want to pass and they will like Note Solution,” added Brym. “Most students are too smart and too highly motivated to rely on such an easy fix.”

“If you can’t pay attention and take notes in a lecture you should be thinking about why you’re in that class in the first place,” says Nowlan, who added that through Accessibility Services there are already services in place for students legitimately unable to take notes.

“If you have a reason for not being able to take notes […] the university already has free systems that provides you with detailed notes from another member of class at no cost to you, and also at no risk of losing the intellectual property rights [of your notes],” said Nowlan. “It takes that one step of walking over to Accessibility Services or to the professor in the class.”

The terms and conditions on the company’s website state that when a student uploads content they transfer ownership of the content to Note Solution with an irrevocable, royalty-free right and licence to commercially profit from the content.

Nowlan predicts that Note Solution might come under fire if users begin to upload lecture slides or other materials produced by instructors. While the website asks users to refrain from uploading assignments, past exams, and lecture slides, the terms and conditions state that Note Solution “does not review or evaluate the accuracy of Content provided by the Notetakers.”

“Looking back at the early 2000s when ASSU was thinking of digitizing its past test library we were shut down immediately,” said Nowlan. “They were completely against us posting their tests online.”

Wu acknowledges that there is a risk of users uploading copyrighted material and is working with several volunteers to monitor content. “We try our best to keep all professors work and certain past tests off the site as we aren’t really sure how they might react to that.”

Wu predicts that the Note Solution has so far spent between $15,000 and $20,000 in production costs with most of the cost arising from web design and development. The site is also planning to offer $20 gift cards and Ipod Shuffles as prizes to students who upload enough of their notes. Wu says that the entire project is currently self-funded.
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“Right now the biggest source of our funds is from our savings and friends and family.” Wu added that they are developing ways to save money in purchasing student prizes. “We’re trying to save on taxes and things so we might purchase them from other sources like Craigslist.”

The site is hoping to solicit advertising revenue once there are more users. “We’re aiming to get around 1000 students by the end of this month and I guess by the end of the year we’re hoping to get at least 2000 members,” said Wu.

Second-year student Anna Cunningham likes the idea of Note Solution. “In case I miss any classes for any reason, it’s nice to not have to wander around and offer to buy them off of people,” said Cunningham, who added that she would also consider uploading her notes to the website.

“I know a lot of the time I have my own thoughts and ideas for essays so I would definitely go through my notes and make sure they were just from the class but I wouldn’t mind otherwise because essentially it’s just public knowledge anyways.”

Toronto Women’s Bookstore reopens

After facing the possibility of bankruptcy as a result of financial problems, the Toronto Women’s Bookstore has undergone renovations and has officially re-opened its doors to the public.

The space has been made more open amd has a cosier atmosphere, now including a café, lounge area, and backyard patio. New owner Victoria Moreno said there are also plans to provide Internet and other services. “I’d like to use the space for different things; I’m open in that sense.”

While business was slow in August, Moreno hopes that it will pick up in September. “I am really, really excited to have taken on this project having made the Toronto Women’s Bookstore survive. But I will still need all of your support,” Moreno told a gathering at the TWB.

The bookstore has historically been involved in the local community, especially the women’s community. Moreno hopes to keep this legacy alive by continuing to host events such as book launches, author readings, and fundraisers; with the possibility of having art exhibits or “a night of arts and culture” in the near future. The bookstore already has a fundraiser fashion show slated on September 24 in support of the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre and the Multi-cultural Women Against Rape.

“We support the community and sell tickets for events,” said Morino. “We will continue to do that.”

The renovations to the store also involved a review of its financial woes, which have included many liabilities and outstanding accounts. When Morino acquired the bookstore in the spring she saw the importance of keeping this institution alive out of“love of the bookstore and its importance to women and the community.”

During the TWB’s difficulties last year they acquired an unfavourable relationship with some U of T professors who had ordered books but had difficulty receiving them on time, if at all.

Professor Bergen from the history department recalls having difficulties when ordering books for her Holocaust class last year.

“I had a very difficult situation last year with the Toronto Women’s Bookstore and my book orders for my classes on the Holocaust,” said Professor Doris Bergen of the history department.

Moreno is hoping to get the support of professors once again and is surprised by the unanticipated support they have been offering this year despite past occurrences and hopes this will continue into the New Year. Professor Bergen is dedicated to continuing to support the store.

“In principle it doesn’t seem right to hold the new management responsible for the problems in the past — and I remain supportive of everything the TWB stands for.”

Moreno became owner of the TWB after first approaching the store to help with their financial issues. “I was worried about the bookstore. I approached them when they had their fundraising event earlier this year… I never thought I’d be taking it over. I just thought maybe I could help with some consulting, see if there was a way I could volunteer my time.”

The TWB supplies to a variety of departments including History, Anthropology, and Aboriginal Studies.

More information on the TWB can be found here.

With files from Zakia Chowdhury